My "such and such" before staying home, was that I was a special education teacher who specialized in working with kiddos on the Autism spectrum. My job was demanding and the hours were long. My days were insanely scheduled and routine. I didn't realize how much I would miss that routine until it ended. Don't get me wrong, I am in no way complaining. Its just so interesting that we can be so unaware of how important something so simple, such as a schedule or deadlines, are until they are gone. And by gone, I mean gone for good. Because we all love the lack of schedule that the weekends or vacations might bring, but when day in and day out your days seem to jumble together, it is very natural to look for purpose.
So after about a month or two or staying home full time with my 2 kiddos, I had this realization and I knew I needed to be proactive and add some order and routine back into my life.
These are the things I put into place that helped drastically improve me outlook and my productivity:
1.) I began having a weekly planning meeting. I have read about these on other blogs, but never realized how useful they could be until I entered this season of life. So, each weekend, I carve out an hour to step away with my coffee and planner and Ipad and get us organized for the week. This includes planning in date nights and family activities as well as appointments or meetings.
2.) I add mundane tasks to my daily planner. Thats right...I write it down...everything! Everything I need to do, from cleaning the bathroom, to meeting a friend for coffee to taking my son to a Dr. appointment. I write it down. I write it down so that 1.) I don't forgot and 2.) so that I have something to hold myself accountable for. When I see simple things like chores listed out on my planner it gives me increased motivation to get it done and not put it off until tomorrow. We all know we love to check, scratch, and scribble things off our to-do lists.
3.) I meal plan. I know--super original, huh?! But, I tell you friends--it is a life saver. It saves on time and money and, in general, it causes you and your family to eat better. I, in fact, actually enjoy it! Its one of my favorite things to plan. So, get on Pinterest, grab a cook book, or a magazine-and just plan it out. Its worth it. This is the template I use from www.faithfulprovisions.com (http://faithfulprovisions.com/2009/10/22/free-meal-planning-template-2/).
There are hundreds of free ones online, I just keep using this one because I laminated it. So, feel free, to find what works for you.
4.) I take time to write down the little moments and the blessings of our day to day. I tried and failed to do this about a million times, until I found a fool proof, easy, and compact tool to help me achieve this goal. This little Mom's journal is set up in such a way that it literally takes one minute of your time at the end of the day. It has one page dedicated for every day of the year. And on each page, a spot to write for 5 consecutive years. It provides just enough room to write a few lines about what you are thankful for that day or what you did or what your kiddos are accomplishing or even the cute things they said that you don't want to forget. And the best part is this book lasts 5 years. So, in one place you are recording simple daily memories that you can look back on year after year. I especially love this for big events or holidays. How fun to look back year after year at what you did and how much has changed and all of the Lord's continual blessings.
(I picked mine up at Target. Surprise, Surprise)
What tips do you guys have for staying organized and productive?